Truckee’s Brickelltown named as priority redevelopment project
TRUCKEE, Calif. – Although the rain has not let up completely, the storm of uncertainty caused by the dissolution of California Redevelopment Agencies has started to abate.Following three months of discussion and debate, the successor agency – an agency composed of Truckee town council members and created specifically to sort through the details of the Redevelopment Agencies (RDA) demolition – voted unanimously last week at Town Hall to go with staff recommendations to make Brickelltown the priority RDA project.The Brickelltown project will cost an estimated $4.5 million and will receive the bulk of $6.5 million of Truckee’s RDA funds.The project calls for the connection of Spring Street and Jibboom Street and the burying of utility lines in the area.But in order for the project to proceed, 70 percent of property owners within the project’s boundaries will have to cooperate in forming a maintenance district, whereby property owners will agree to share the cost of ongoing snow removal and maintenance costs. Staff estimates the associated price tag to property owners will be in the range of $1,000 to $1,200 per year.”It’s time to step back and allow the process to have meaningful public input,” said Assistant Town Manager Alex Terrazas. “We need to start working with property owners to determine if they have an interest in the district.”Throughout the meeting, staff, successor agency board members and audience members lamented the prioritization process, saying it did not allow for enough public input.The Brickelltown project was selected as top priority because it met criteria predefined by town policy and state law.Not only did the project have to be consistent with the Town’s General and Specific Plans, as well as with all contracts between the Town and other agencies, the project also had to be best use of one-time funds.Additionally, the timing had to be such that the project could be finished within four years, and significant work had to be completed on the project already. And finally, staff tried to determine whether or not the project would be supported by the public and would generate private investment.Brickelltown’s choice as a priority project was not an easy decision for town staff charged with performing the analysis and bringing the recommendation forward.”This has produced significant debate at the staff level, including any number of changed minds and the occasional circular discussions,” wrote Dennis Crabb, legal counsel for the successor agency. “When the dust settled, the most significant factors were the time limitations … and the long standing council priority that downtown is the heart and soul of Truckee. That policy seemingly dictates that the available bond funds be expended on projects that clearly demonstrate their worth to the community (AKA high profile projects) and which will meaningfully enhance the downtown experience for both visitors and locals.”Town staff has been directed to further investigate the feasibility and support of the Brickelltown project and to come back to the successor agency with findings within 60 days.
But what to do with the remaining $2 million of RDA-related funds?The choice has been whittled down to three other projects, all of which were found by staff to merit priority status.”This is going to be a tough decision no matter what,” citizen Jamie Brimer told the board during public comment. “No matter what direction you go, some people are going to be happy and some are going to be upset.”One choice is to connect the sidewalk between the Mountain Home Center and the fire station. The estimated cost is $2 million and the Truckee Fire Protection District has shown interest in seeing the project come to fruition.A second choice is the Trout Creek Restoration and Pocket Park, which, though not highly visible, adds a new dimension and a positive improvement to the downtown core, the staff report said. The design work on this project is complete and the project has been in the pipeline for a decade.A third project choice would be to underground the utility lines throughout the downtown area, which the staff report said would be a substantial visual improvement. Additionally, this project is not one that would likely attract private development funds, and no other public funds are available for a project such as this, the report said. The estimated cost of this project is also $2 million.The board discussed how cost savings measures might stretch the money available.If Brickelltown does not go forward, the money earmarked for the project will be available for these, and perhaps other, projects.
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